I didn't realize the holiday time warp would extend this far into January. I apologize for being a week late with my updates!
I have so many wonderful photos and experiences to share with you guys from my recent forest adventures.
There is no end to my astonishment as I make my way through these lush places. Week three was a unique experience, because we actually visited two forests which were completely different. We started out in the steep woodland near Divach falls, which was almost completely iced over. The sun graced us with it's warmth before dipping behind the distant hills, leaving us in a chilly but beautiful winter wonderland.
Second, we ventured closer to home and stumbled upon a Beauly woodland trail that led into a dark, dense, moss-covered forest. There was hardly any snow to be found here! It was warmer within the protection of the trees (as I've discovered is rather common).
Each forest offered it's own intense beauty. The first, sparkling and frosty, and offering a sense of adventure as your feet slipped down the steep path.
The second, a dark enchanted woodland, casting a spell of mystery on its visitors that pulls you deeper into its embrace.
I thought it might be fun to do some side-by-side comparisons of photos from Week 3, to celebrate the diversity.
There was no greater noticeable difference than in the temperature. Even though the first snowy forest was sunny and inviting - it was bitter cold. The second forest offered a blanket of warmth and the thick, bouncy moss below our feet added to a sense of cozy wonder.
We ended Week 3's adventure with a trip to the Beauly Firth - and lucked out with some late sun rays.
We ventured a little further from home for week 4, on a very specific mission: to find "The Gorge."
We vaguely call it "The Gorge" because it is a distant memory - a dramatic ravine that we once passed on a road trip, forgot to write it down, and now we cannot seem to recall it's exact location.
Therefore, we set out in the general direction we both agree it should be in - and hoped for the best. Along the way, we crossed familiar terrain, but the recent snowfall had my photographer senses tingling.
As we passed Loch Glascarnoch, we were caught in a sudden snow flurry, which gave the terrain an otherworldly feel.
Wolfy suddenly slammed on the breaks and pulled off the road, announcing "I found it! This is it!"
We had reached the Corrieshalloch Gorge National Nature Reserve. From the road, we saw huge plunging waterfalls cascading down into a vast ravine. This had to be it, right?
We sat for a moment, waiting for the rain to die down (I was carrying precious cargo after all - my Canon 6D with my 135 f/1.4 lens).
After a few snacks, we realized we couldn't just wait around all day, as we were losing precious light. So we pulled up our hoods, and I tucked my camera under my arm as we headed down into the gorge.
The forest trail that leads down was dotted with young trees, waterfalls, and some very wild colors! It reminded me of Colorado terrain and I had a blast taking photos of this rainy landscape. There's something magical about being outside in the rain - hearing the drops land on leaves and stones, the birds gently chirping and the spontaneous waterfalls babbling beside you.
Eventually, the trail stopped at an overlook, where you can view a huge waterfall diving into the bottom of the gorge below. It was extremely slippery and dangerous near the edge, so rather than risk a fall, we mostly stuck to the trail.
After about 20 minutes of admiring this incredible place, we continued on the trail, which led upwards to the right of the ravine. Along the way there were many waterfalls and beautiful forest details.
After about 30 minutes of exploring the forest trail (I stopped to take a lot of photos as you can see!) we eventually made our way up to the culmination of the trail: the Falls of Mesach (also known as the falls of Measach).
Unfortunately, the bridge was under construction, so we could not cross to see these thundering falls, but they must be spectacular because while standing next to the bridge we could hear the relentless pounding of the water against the rock far below (so loud it was hard to hear each other sometimes). What a tease! We will definitely be back in the future to see what all the fuss is about.
By the end of the hike, we realized that in fact this was not "The Gorge" - but it was still fun nonetheless!
Back on the road, we discovered several more woodland trails that we will be visiting in the future! We stopped at one in order to read the information sign, and suddenly we heard more thunder.
No - not thunder - water! We stumbled upon this gem, which was a great end to the day!
I took so much inspiration from this week's adventure - and even though we ended up soaking wet and cold, it was so worth it! I took dozens more photos for references that I can use in my paintings. But these photos capture my most recent 2 weeks of forest explorations pretty well!